At only a page each in length, Richard Mallinson’s elegantly structured short stories are a pithy fast fiction for a modern multimedia age. A rapid succession of carefully worked observations, the stories read like a dynamic anthology of life’s collisions and interactions, its projected plans and unexpected rotations. There is a great joy in the subverted (the interviewer becomes the interviewee; the private detective becomes the conspirator) as well as an interest in the open-ended. Possibility abounds, for these are always tales of the present; the past is unclear and the future unwritten.
Adhering to the strict one-page format, the writing is marvelously precise: it is highly disciplined, but infinitely rich, conjuring the most unique and sharply observed characters with remarkably few words. If indeed “we read fiction . . . in order to meet individuals” as the character Tolson declares in Mallinson’s “Tolson’s Creed,” then in this anthology we are introduced to a plethora of distinct personalities, rendered all the more compelling by their relentless unpredictability.